Best Airlines and Airports of 2018

2018 has mercifully come to an end, and 2019 has just barely begun. Therefore, it is the perfect time to look at back at the past year and reflect on what we learned. For example, OAG’s Punctuality League has just announced its list of the most punctual airlines and airports in the world!

To coldly compile such lists, the league draws on the records of 58 million flights carried out throughout the year. If the OAG schedule database doesn’t have the records of at least 80% of your flights, you’re out of consideration (and bad at bookkeeping). OAG defines on-time performance as leaving and/or landing within 15 minutes of the official time. Cancellations are included in the calculations. For an airline, only the ability to land on time matters.

OAG also separates the airlines into five categories. However, of all airlines of all sizes, the Latin America Copa Airlines wins the trophy, as 89.79% of their flights land on time. AirBaltic is the runner up, with 89.17%. The biggest fall in OTP was with Vueling, who fell from 7th position to 63rd – OAG theorizes that it might have been due to the French industrial actions.

In the “mega airline” category – which includes top 20 passenger airlines by flights – LATAM Airline Group saw great improvements in OTP and landed the 1st place with 85.60% (they had the 8th place the previous year). SAS and Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) , on the other hand, fell down the rating. Of the mainline airlines – those among the top 250 operators and with more than 30,000 scheduled flights – the first three spots were taken by Copa Airlines, airBaltic and Hong Kong Airlines (88.11%), respectively. Kudos to Bangkok Airways who leaped from 34th position to the 5th (87.16%).

Now for the low-cost carriers, who were excluded from the mainline list. Ryanair is nowhere to be seen, obviously – of European LCCs, only Transavia (81.98%, 6th place) and Norwegian (74.57%, 18th) remain on the top 20 chart. Azul (AZUL) dominates the chart with 85.21%! In general, if we look at the European operators, airBaltic takes the top position, with KLM trailing as the second (84.52%), followed by Iberia (84.01%). For the latter, it’s a great boost, as it had not made the top 10 in the previous year. On the other hand, Vueling, Austrian and SAS dropped off.

And now for the airports! Your small airports – as defined by 2.5M-5M departing seats a year – were judged, just like the big ones, on planes departing and/or leaving within 15 minutes of their allotted time. Minsk Airport shone in this league, with OTP of 92.35%. Three Brazilian airports made unto the list. However, European airports did not put up that great of a show. For example, Paris Charleroi dropped from the top 5 to 6th position last year – and dropped off the top 20 in the newest rating.

There were some serious changes in medium airports (5M-10M seats). Panama City moved from 2nd place to 1st with OTP of 91.11%. Continuing the trend of European ineptitude, Birmingham Airport, first among the medium airports last year, dropped off the top 20 chart entirely. Maybe it had something to do with all of those strikes that shook European airlines in 2018? Overall, 14 of the top 20 medium airports were found in the Americas. On the other hand, while Osaka topped the chart for large airports (10-20M), displaying an OTP of 88.22%, the chart included 3 European ones. Athens was 14th, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen the 18th and Oslo the 20th.

Major airports (that’s 20-30M for those counting) were topped by Moscow Sheremetyevo, with its passenger enjoying an OTP of 87.00% – hooray for them! But if we move to the mega airport (30m+) category, it’s back to Japan as Tokyo Haneda that lead the pack (85.62%). On this list of massive airports, Madrid is the first European one, being 6th with OTP of 79.16%. Amsterdam is 8th with 77.73%. To translate into human language, even at the best and biggest European airport, you can expect 1/5th of your flights to be late or otherwise disrupted in some way.

So there you have it! Now you know the airlines least likely to disrupt your flight with delays and cancellations. If those do occur, Skycop is ready to help passengers claim compensation. According to EC 261/2004, a flyer can claim up to €600, depending on the length of the flight. However, be aware that airports messing up makes compensation void – so make sure to fly to/from trusty ones!

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